The Hart of Community Street Art
When it comes to community, Catherine Hart is the real deal.
With the launch of the new CANVS website, I’ve been reflecting upon my experience up to this point—in particular, the many artist whom I’ve been privileged to meet.
One such artist who came to mind is Jersey City’s own Catherine Hart. Last August, I had the good fortune to chat with her as she was hard at work on a mural in Jersey City aka in her element.
I was halfway out the door when i decided to bring my camera and video equipment, and good thing I did. When I arrived, I found Catherine covered in spray paint, working on the mural titled Aqualand over at the old Buy Wise Warehouse on Grand Street. I remember that warehouse as a kid growing up in Jersey City, but I forgot just how massive this warehouse is.—it takes up entire block! Most people think large-scale murals mean a building covered entirely in paint, but not quite in this case.
The execution of this mural is much more segmented. Its painted on doors and along these funky indentations within the walls that you’d expect a window to be. This mural concept is so fresh because it’s a balance between depth and subtlety. You can see drivers on the road just about breaking their necks to get a glimpse of this dopeness!
Catherine was about halfway through the mural at the time. Things got interesting when I noticed she was working with three young women. I assumed they were her assistants. They were actually students part of the art program that mentors young artists. Catherine explained to me the process of working with the kids so passionately that I really got a good sense of her mission as a street artist—to elevate the community and support young local artists. In short, she’s legit.
“One of the most important gifts I can help give to the world is to help people know that the world is ours to create”
Before her students even made it to the wall, they all agreed on one theme: sea life. So of course, Catherine did them one better and actually brought them to the Museum of Natural History to do some research. They were then grouped in random teams to figure out how to get their drawings become one with the concept. As a creative director, I could really appreciate all the strategy the went into this.
To me, Catherine Hart truly embodies what street art is about: community. She’s not only helping beautify communities, she’s building a bridge between the artist and the people who need it the most—our youth. Catherine sees their potential and is putting it to use beautifully, through education and implementation.
Most importantly, Catherine is planting a seed that’s poised to bloom into a model of inspiration for a generation of up-and-coming artists. I’ll leave this article with something the artist herself said that re ally stuck with me after meeting this awesome artist. “One of the most important gifts I can help give to the world is to help people know that the world is ours to create”